Foundation for Education Grants

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May 09, 2017
The Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s Foundation for Education was formed in April 2008 to enhance educational opportunities for students of the Chamber’s eight county region. The Foundation for Education was able to award a total of $5,000 in the 2016-17 school year. This year’s recipients were Betsy Layne High School, Dorton Elementary School, Elkhorn City Elementary School, and Phelps Elementary School.

Betsy Layne High School purchased 12 Finch robots with their portion of the grant money. These robots were used by the senior class in order to gain a better understand of programing and coding. This hands-on approach to learning allows the students to see the different effects of each feature, including light and temperature sensors, multi-color lights, and varying speeds. Through this study, students will become familiar with block code and then transition to true text-based programming such as Java, JavaScript, Python, and others.
Kelly Boles, from the Betsy Layne Math Department, states, “My students have loved these robots. The students using these robots are seniors and the fact that they beg to learn something new and use the robots daily (1 week before they graduate), I think, is the greatest praise of all.”

​Dorton Elementary was also interested in acquiring technology to help the students learn coding. They chose the Ozobots. Ozobots allows the children to work in groups to strengthen their problem solving abilities and their coding skills. They learn to collaborate with classmates and refine their coding knowledge in order to solve Brain Teaser activities. The classes have been incorporating writing, drawing, and social studies into the study of coding. 

“Students are becoming well-rounded and successful learners,” says Johna Wright, Dorton Elementary 1st Grade teacher.

Elkhorn City’s grant money was used to acquire a 3D printer for their arts program. The arts program then partnered with other subject areas to combine art, science, math, social studies, technology, and practical living. Elkhorn City Elementary School has now begun the exploration of this latest innovative technology tool.  Students have learned to measure angles, draw 3 dimensional objects, and transfer that information to the digital world to produce the shapes using the 3D printer. Their next step is utilizing the printer to create architectural projects, manufacture artifacts to gain a better understanding of ancient civilizations, and use the 3D printer in collaboration with a robotics project. 

Robert Lounsberry, Elkhorn City Elementary educator, praises the 3D printer by saying, “The addition of the 3D printer to educational experiences at Elkhorn City Elementary School has brought a burst of enthusiasm to our students.  I see eagerness to learn in the students, and they have a desire to add to what they have learned.”

Phelps Elementary School requested the grant money to purchase a Bee Bots Hive. The Bee Bots are used to encourage teamwork and assist in learning to identify different mathematical properties, such as relative value, counting money, probability, and multiplication. The Bee Bots can also be used in a number of other fields by using clear plastic toppers to customize the “Bee mat”. 

“The Bee Bots are an awesome way to introduce third graders to critical thinking and problem solving skills which will allow them to reach their full potential in a STEM (Science/technology/engineering/math) environment classroom,” states Kari Mayhorn, Phelps Elementary 3rd Grade teacher. 

The SEKC was thrilled with the positive feedback from each of the schools and their students.